Visual Impairment and Spectacles Ownership Among Upper Secondary School Students in Northwestern China

  • The purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence of visual impairment and spectacles ownership among academic and vocational upper secondary school students in rural China.

  • There is a high rate of unmet need in visual care among upper secondary school students.

  • Lack of spectacles ownership among children who needed them was significantly associated with VUSS education.

  • This cross-sectional study included 5583 students from four academic upper secondary schools (AUSSs) and two vocational upper secondary schools (VUSSs) in Mei and Qianyang counties, Baoji Prefecture, Shaanxi Province.

  • In March and April 2016, students underwent assessment of visual acuity (VA) and completed a questionnaire regarding spectacles use and family characteristics.

  • Students with visual impairment and students needing spectacles (uncorrected VA ≤6/12 in the better eye, which could be improved to >6/12 with refraction) were identified.

  • Among 5583 students (54% boys, mean age 16.4±1.0 years) in grades 10 and grade 11 attending AUSSs (n=4549) and VUSSs (n=1034),visual impairment was detected in 4026 students.

  • Among the AUSS students, 3425 (75%) needed spectacles; 2551 (75%) had them.

  • Among the VUSS students, 601 (58%) needed spectacles; this proportion was significantly smaller (P=0.004), as was the proportion who had spectacles (n=212, 35%, P<0.001), compared with the AUSS students.

  • Multivariate analysis showed that ownership of spectacles among children who needed them was associated with worse uncorrected VA (P<0.001), male sex (P<0.001), and residence in an urban area(P <0.034).

  • Spectacles ownership was also strongly associated with AUSS education (P<0.001).

Publication date

February 21, 2020


Hong Kong Medical Journal


J Zhao, H Guan, K Du, H Wang, Matthew Boswell, Y Shi, Scott Rozelle, Nathan Congdon, Annie Osborn
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